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Iraqi fugitive Cabinet minister is in Jordan, Jordan's PM says

Iraqi fugitive Cabinet minister is in Jordan, Jordan's PM says

A former Iraqi Cabinet minister who escaped from a Baghdad prison this month has arrived in Jordan, Jordan's prime minister said Tuesday.
"Ayham al-Samaraie who escaped from his jail in Baghdad arrived in Amman as an American and on an American plane," Prime Minister Marouf al-Bakhit told reporters.
Al-Samaraie, a former minister of electricity with dual U.S. and Iraqi citizenship, was serving time for corruption when he escaped mid-December. On Dec. 19, he called the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times and gloated over his escape, referring to U.S. and Iraqi officials in Baghdad as "suckers."
He declined to tell the newspapers where he was, but said he was in a "a very safe place."
"Jordan did not receive any demand from the Iraqi authorities" for al-Samaraie's extradition, al-Bakhit said.
Al-Samaraie told the New York Times he had managed to leave Iraq on a flight from Baghdad International Airport.
The prime minister did not elaborate on al-Samaraie's escape, but by "American plane" he appeared to be referring to a U.S. military plane.
Al-Samaraie told the newspapers it was easy to board a plane.
"So why I cannot take the airport? It's not because I am a smart cookie. Any Iraqi can do it," he was quoted as saying.
Al-Samaraie said a "multinational" group helped him to escape "the Chicago way" _ a reference to the film about Al Capone called "The Untouchables."
In 2003, al-Samaraie became a member of the transitional Iraqi governmentin set up after U.S.-led forces overthrew Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. In August he was detained, convicted of corruption and sentenced to two years imprisonment.
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Updated : 2020-12-04 18:40 GMT+08:00